Theyre called wild animals for a reason
Theyre called wild animals for a reason A pamphlet distributed by the National Park Service to people entering Yellowstone National Park warns visitors not to get too close to bison, also known as buffalo (AP photos)
Theyre called wild animals for a reason
Lexile: 1140L

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A pamphlet drawing of a man being gored and flung into the air graphically warns tourists in Yellowstone National Park not to get too close to bison: They're wild animals and can be very dangerous.

Rangers distribute the flyer to people as they enter the park, but some visitors still aren't getting the message. Bison have gored two people in the Old Faithful area within the past three weeks.

Increased tourism up 18 percent in the park in May compared to the same month last year has put more people close to the animals, Yellowstone spokeswoman Traci Weaver said.

Most of Yellowstone is in Wyoming but it extends into Montana and Idaho, too.

"There's just a lot of people around and the temptation is there when a bison looks calm," Weaver said.

Still, she said the two attacks in such a short period were a statistical anomaly.

The latest attack on June 2 was an especially violent scene, as a bison charged a 62-year-old Australian man and flung him into the air several times.

A male American bison can weigh up to 2,000 pounds, bigger than a Smart car. They have horns that aren't just for grubbing around for tasty shoots.

Bison often behave much like cattle, lumbering about and lazing in the sunshine. But when they get a mind to, they can run up to 40 mph, or almost twice as fast as Usain Bolt's world-record speed in the 100-meter dash.

"I just don't think people realize how fast bison move. They're big animals, but they move quickly. And so when a bison becomes agitated, it doesn't take him long to cover that short distance," Yellowstone spokeswoman Amy Bartlett said.

The unidentified Australian was flown by helicopter to a hospital where he was treated for serious injuries and released.

The attack happened as a group of people crowded near the bison as it lay on the grass near a paved trail. The man was taking photos of the shaggy beast from just a few feet, but the whole crowd was much too close, park officials said.

Anything less than 75 feet is unsafe, they warn. Also, stop staring at your camera or phone, be aware of your surroundings and know that Yellowstone's wild animals are free to roam where they please.

If a bison is near a trail, don't go down that trail.

"Just because the animal is near the trail or boardwalk doesn't mean it's tame," Bartlett said.

Yellowstone's summer tourist season began a month ago and already the park has had some dicey run-ins between wildlife and tourists. A recent videotape showed camera-clicking tourists scrambling for their vehicles as a black bear and her cubs tried to cross a bridge in Yellowstone and began running in their direction.

Then on May 16, a bison in the Old Faithful area gored a 16-year-old girl from Taiwan as she posed for a picture near the animal. She also was treated at a hospital for serious injuries and released.

Some who encounter bears in Yellowstone aren't so fortunate. Bears have killed at least seven people in Yellowstone since the park was established in 1872.

But bison and elk, especially the big-antlered males during mating season each fall are responsible for more injuries to people, at least a couple every year. And Yellowstone has far too many tourists and wildlife for park rangers to even try to police every possible situation.

"A ranger can't be at every bison all the time," Bartlett said, "so people need to keep that common sense."

Critical thinking challenge: How can your phone be a hazard?

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Assigned 12 times

  • NickB-2
    6/10/2015 - 07:21 p.m.

    This article is about Buffalo. In Yellowstone, they are warning people to stay away from Buffalo, as they are dangerous wild animals who gore people almost weekly.
    They can run at 40mph and weigh about a ton. I think it is stupid that we have to warn people to stay away from wild animals.

  • NickB-2
    6/10/2015 - 07:21 p.m.

    This article is about Buffalo. In Yellowstone, they are warning people to stay away from Buffalo, as they are dangerous wild animals who gore people almost weekly.
    They can run at 40mph and weigh about a ton. I think it is stupid that we have to warn people to stay away from wild animals.

  • GrantW-2
    6/12/2015 - 07:25 p.m.

    This is why we are not living to the expected years they thought we would. the human race is being a lot more stupid then we thought. with less common sense.The more we drop out of school and goof off there is going to be a lot of stupid people in this place we call the earth. We need to be smarter as a group of humans

  • ConstanzaCastro
    6/16/2015 - 05:26 p.m.

    This article talks about wild animals ans how dangerous those could be. In Yellowstone National Park you can be very closer with bisons and spend time with they. but, in particular cases, the security of the park isn't enough. in two cases, the animals became angry and attacked visitors.
    How can your phone be a hazard?
    When you are taking photos the animals became nervious and they can attack you.

  • CCurvan-Cas
    6/18/2015 - 01:30 p.m.

    This article is about telling people to stay away from the wild animals. It shows a picture of a man being thrown by a buffalo as an example of what wild animals can do to you if you get to close. I think people should know already not to get to close to wild animals.

  • benjaminc-day
    10/06/2015 - 09:57 a.m.

    I can relate to this article because I have been to Yellowstone and there are many dangers. You have to be on the lookout at all times because there are animals everywhere and they are free to go wherever they want. People aren't always as cautious as they should be and even the week I was there, someone got too close to a bear and was killed. I think the age of social media is making it more dangerous because everybody wants pictures and gets too close for the pictures and are not paying attention. They are too focused on their phones and don't realize the danger always present. The rangers can't do anything either because they warn them and put signs up but ultimately people are responsible for themselves.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    8/10/2016 - 05:56 p.m.

    I think that the people should be more cautious when they are with the bison. Just because they are interesting and they are animals, it does not mean that you could go and pet them like a dog. They can cause much more harm and are not even tame. Many people have been attacked by the buffalo so there are warnings about them. However, people are still not listening. They are just so intrigued by the buffalo because it is not something they see often. I hope that there will not be anymore accidents with people and the buffalo in the parks.
    I think that phones can be a hazard when people are distracted by them. In a park, they might be using their phone and walk near a buffalo without even knowing it. They might also use their phones to take pictures of the buffalo and get too close to them.

  • Nerla-fie
    3/27/2017 - 01:25 p.m.

    Phones can be hazardous because they could distract people from being conscientious of what they are doing, therefore resulting severe injury, sometimes fatal.

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